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Stair Safety

Stair safety in the home is an important issue often overlooked.  Most homes and their stairs were built prior to new code regulations adopted from the International Code Council model codes since 2000. The efforts of SMA professionals in code reform and education have contributed to vast improvements in the understanding and interpretation of safer building codes. SMA professionals can inform you of what renovations are needed in your staircase to meet or exceed the codes. 

To help educate both industry professionals and property owners, the SMA has published a variety of Visual Interpretations of the Stair Codes. These publications are designed by experts to break down complicated concepts so that they can be easily understood and implemented in the field. The Visual Interpretation guides include clear graphic depictions of important stair code regulations related to stair safety, comfort, and are  valued by industry leaders. The SMA’s focus on education and resource support aims to raise industry standards across the board.


Always use the handrail and teach your children to do so.  Consider the possibility of installing a handrail at a lower height that small children can reach.  Handrails on both sides of the stair provide an extra margin of safety not required by the code but especially helpful to our aging population. Handrail continuity from top to bottom of the flight, open ends of handrails that snag clothes and carried objects, and handrail shapes that do not provide graspable finger recesses,  are all issues clearly regulated in the code.

Stairway Safety Gates 

When small children are in the home, the SMA recommends the use of safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways.  Screwing into the wall studs is the preferred method of attachment and will require minor patching upon removal when the gate is no longer needed.  Gate manufacturers offer many options to attach to stair newel posts and walls.  Be sure to choose the one that is best for your conditions, install it correctly, or hire a pro and then...use it without fail!

SMA Stair Safety Curriculum

Learn about Stair Safety
Stair Safety Education is critical to reducing the most common causes of all stairway accidents affecting the entire family.

Created by a team of educational and industry professionals this classroom tested program provides a needed emphasis and tools for results that will affect the way entire families "Use Stairs Safely".


Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association
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